February 6th I was at the Stephen Ministry group at First English Lutheran Church presenting “Tools, Techniques and Resources for Supporting and Guiding the Disemployed Back to Employment” (re-scheduled from November).
I have given this presentation before, at the Stephen Ministry group at St. Martin’s Lutheran Church, and gave a modified version of this for Launch Pad Job Club, entitled “What I Did on My Summer Vacation”.
Over time, I have become more and more in favor of speaking without using slides. None of my presentations are particularly slide-heavy, but this time I went completely without slides, and just talked.
In doing so, I discovered new things about my presentation, and rediscovered others, and in the process discovered something that I wanted to share with you about managing your career.
What I discovered was “Moments of Power”. I’ve spoken and written about these moments of power before, using other terms, but this time I came away tying several concepts together that I hadn’t realized were actually different facets of the same thing.
I wrote about the power of helping people, about how wonderful it felt when I had an opportunity to give a little back to Launch Pad Job Club, especially when helping new members get oriented, how just a kind word of greeting and welcome and an offer to help them find the resources they needed provided them with such relief.
I wrote about finding your passion, finding those moments in your career and in your life that you have really enjoyed, where you felt the most successful, where you produced tangible results that made a difference.
These are your Moments of Power.
What I realized in the midst of the presentation was that there was something about helping people when you yourself are struggling with problems, particularly if you are struggling with something that feels overwhelming. It is important to get a reminder that, as helpless as you feel in your own struggle, you still have power to accomplish something.
There were times during my unemployment in past years when I felt so dragged down by my circumstances that I felt that mustering an effort towards changing those circumstances was impossible. “Why apply for that job? They won’t want me anyway.” Yikes. It was only after I started to help out at the meetings that I started to again feel more like I was able to accomplish things and be successful doing so.
What had happened was I had lost sight of my ability to be successful. Helping others is a great way to realize that you are capable of being successful.
Similarly, during my presentation, I learned that there was more to finding your passion that helping you discover the correct direction for your career, or for finding and highlighting your successes in your resume. Just recalling those moments of success, of passionate pursuits, can help you get back in touch with those moments, help you to see the power you have to make a difference.
During my bout of unemployment that coincided with the economic downturn in 2007, at around the same time as I started to regain my power, I re-evaluated the contents of my resume, looking for better ways to bring out what I was capable of so that employers could see my value. What was it about each job that I had enjoyed? What were my successes at each job? In doing so, I recalled to memory that I had at one time been successful at accomplishing things, that I had done well at jobs, that I could be successful at returning to the work force.
Being unemployed was hard for me, and I am sure it is hard for those of you reading this who are currently unemployed. I strongly recommend doing something for others to help you feel that, yes, you can make a difference. And I recommend that you reflect on your past successes, and think about the things you enjoyed about your past jobs, so that you can feel that, yes, you have made a difference in the past. Those Moments of Power can help lift you back out of depression (incrementally at first, to be sure), and help propel you toward your next success.
Jim Adcock is Vice President of Launch Pad Job Club, an organization in Austin, Texas, whose mission is help people who have lost their jobs to get the skills they need to land their next job, and to help them cope with the interim between jobs. Check out other career-related entries.